Sunday, November 19, 2006

Isn't it good we have men to tell us what to do?

Sailorman (who occasionally comments on Alas) has an interesting new argument. He believes that the only way anyone should use the word 'rape' is to reflect the exact legal definition of where they live:

Anyone who frequents feminist blogs has seen similar claims, and more. Sometimes the claims are much more explicit: "drunk people cannot legally consent." "Any pressure means it's rape." "If you didn't want to have sex, it's rape."

In many states, those are all lies. And it's doing no favors to those women who hear them.


If only members of the women's liberation movement had had Sailorman's wisdom, imagine how much stronger we would have been there. Obviously the feminists who started discussing 'marital rape' weren't doing women any favours. Legally once , and feminists who implied otherwise were treating women like children and telling them what you think they "want to" or "should" hear " (to paraphrase the oh so wise Sailorman words).

Because it is all our fault (sorry if you've heard that before):

If a woman knew, really knew, that a threat of trying to get you fired would not support a rape conviction, would she still give in to the threat? If she knew that scared silence gives much less support for a conviction than a shouted "no!" would she still remain silent?


I actually have no words to express my anger at the first example Sailorman comes up with. I sincerely doubt that a single person who has ever been raped by her boss has considered what the rape laws in her state when she decided how hard she could resist.

I believe that a woman is raped if she's drunk, if she withdraws her consent party way through sex, or if she wanted to have sex with someone else. The law doesn't agree with me. I've already written about why I define rape in the way I do:
I define rape in the way I do to support the women who are naming their experiences, and reiterate the idea they have the right to say no to sex.

I also define rape in the way I do as a protection against men who have sex with women who don't want to have sex with them. I believe that one of the few forms of protection women have against rape is gossip - passing on information that we know about men who hurt women.

Women need to know who the men are who don't notice, or don't care, that the women they're sleeping with don't want to have sex with them. Calling those acts rape is both protection and resistance.


I still believe that, my definition about rape is about women's experiences, which is more important to me than the law.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with Jeff [trigger warning] when he says that it would be helpful for us to have separate terms for "legal" and "moral" rape, like we do for murder and whatever. Especially since the legal system in America really isn't on the side of women.

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